Which American female-authored the world’s second highest-selling book in the entire Nineteenth Century, topped only by the Bible?
Who was the first woman to earn a medical degree in America, after being rejected by twenty-nine medical schools because of her sex, yet graduated first in her class at the one that accepted her?
Who was the first Native American female to write an autobiography who is also one of only nine women honored with a statue in the National Statuary Hall Collection at the US Capitol in Washington?
Which orphan became the first self-made female millionaire in America and was considered to be the wealthiest African-American female at the time of her death?
Who was the first female to hold elected federal office?
Who was the first to receive an electoral vote in the US presidential elections?
Which woman has a crater on the moon named in her honor?
Liberty Coin Service in Lansing, Michigan has forwarded the names of 52 prominent American women received in the company’s March public survey to help select which 20 might be individually depicted on the US Mint’s quarters placed into circulation starting in 2022 through 2025. US Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin’s office received the accompanying list on April 9.
The Circulating Collectible Coin Redesign Act Of 2020, signed into law January 13, 2021, designated that the Smithsonian Institution American Women’s History Initiative, National Women’s History Museum, and the Bipartisan Women’s Caucus (which includes all female members of the current US Congress) jointly create the preliminary list of women who might appear on these quarters. This preliminary list will then be published in the Federal Register to allow for public input, then the final list of 20 names to be honored on the coins will be announced within the next few months by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.
Said LCS CEO and owner Tom Coulson, “Whenever the public has had the opportunity to provide ideas for coin designs, the response has been enthusiastic. We conducted this survey to augment the limited public participation specified in the enacting legislation. One thing we have learned from this survey is that there are so many American women with wonderful achievements and contributions, that trying to trim the list to only 20 honorees will be a real challenge.”
According to the legislation, “the reverse side of each quarter dollar issued under this subsection shall be emblematic of the accomplishments and contributions of one prominent woman of the United States, and may include contributions to the United States in a wide spectrum of accomplishments and fields, including but not limited to suffrage, civil rights, abolition, government, humanities, science, space, and arts, and should honor women from ethnically, racially, and geographically diverse backgrounds.” The US Mint’s Press Office also noted that no living woman may be depicted on a US coin.
Frequently-honored Liberty Coin Service, founded in 1971, is Michigan’s largest rare coin and precious metals dealership. Liberty Coins, as it is known locally, has been located in Lansing’s Frandor Shopping Center since 1975. Below are the results of the Liberty Coins survey:
Which 20 Prominent American Women Deserve To Be Honored On US 2022-2025 Quarters?
In soliciting suggestions from the public as to which women might be considered to be one of 20 who will be individually honored on a US Quarter being issued and placed into circulation from 2022 through 2025, Liberty Coin Service received the following 52 submissions. Of these 52, eight (Anderson, Anthony, Cannon, Cather, Madison--twice, McAuliffe, Roosevelt, and Sacagawea) have already appeared on one or more US coins or US Gold American Arts Medallions. (We also received many suggestions for women not eligible to appear on these coins as they are still living. Those women are not listed below.)
Jane Addams (1860-1935) social reformer and peace activist who created the Hull House in Chicago to help the poor, worked to improve conditions for child labor, infant mortality, and workplace safety, founder of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (1915), winner of the Nobel Peace Prize (1931).
Marian Anderson (1897-1993), American singer, in 1939 was invited by Howard University to sing at Constitution Hall in Washington, DC but the Daughters of the American Revolution refused to let her perform there because of their whites-only requirement to use the Hall, NAACP executive secretary suggested that she sing outdoors, where she performed before 75,000 from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on April 9, 1939, honored (while still alive) by the US Mint by being depicted on the 1980 ½ Ounce Gold American Arts Medallion.
Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906), began collecting anti-slavery petitions at the age of 17. Co-founder with Elizabeth Cady Stanton in 1852 of the New York Women’s Temperance Society, they also founded the American Equal Rights Association in 1866 that campaigned for equal rights for women and African-Americans, they also later founded the National Woman Suffrage Association in 1869, arranged for the first women’s suffrage bill to be introduced in the US Congress in 1878, her 80th birthday was celebrated at the White House by President McKinley, she was previously honored by the US Mint on the $1.00 coin issued from 1979-1981 and again in 1999.
Clara Barton (1821-1912), founder and long-time president of the American Red Cross, called the “Angel of the Battlefield” while caring for injured soldiers during the Civil War.
Isabella Baumfree (known as Sojourner Truth) (c.1797-1883), spoke Dutch as her first language, escaped with her infant daughter from slavery in New York in 1826, in 1828 became the first black woman to win a custody case against a white man to recover her son, changed her name to Sojourner Truth in 1843, delivered famous “Ain’t I a Woman?” speech to the Ohio Women’s Rights Convention in 1851, recruited black troops for the Union Army during the Civil War, rode in Washington, DC streetcars in 1865 to help force desegregation, supported the abolition of slavery, women’s rights, religious tolerance, pacifism, lived in Michigan from 1857 until her death, Interstate I-194 in Battle Creek and Calhoun County, Michigan is named the Sojourner Truth Parkway.
Mary McLeod Bethune (1875-1955), used $1.50 in 1904 to begin the Daytona [Florida] Literary and Industrial School for Training Negro Girls, the school grew to be a high school, then junior college, then a college now known as Bethune-Cookman University, brilliant speaker and fundraiser, advocate for African-Americans.
Elizabeth Blackwell (1821-1910) born and died in Great Britain, after being rejected by 29 medical schools because she was a female, she was the first woman to earn a medical degree (1849) in the United States (1st in her class at Geneva Medical College—now Hobart College), author, founded (with her sister) the New York Infirmary for Women and Children to serve the poor, lectured female audiences on the importance of educating girls, worked with several women to establish the London (England) School of Medicine for Women (1874).
Sarah Breedlove (popularly known as Madam C. J. Walker) (1867-1919), became an orphan at age 6, reported in the Guinness Book of World Records as the first self-made female millionaire in America, developed and marketed a line of cosmetics and hair care products for black women, calling her company Madam C. J. Walker Manufacturing Company, upon her death considered to be the wealthiest African-American woman and wealthiest self-made black woman in America, developed the process of door-to-door sales, training over 20,000 African-American women to be entrepreneurs, a technique later adopted by Avon, Amway, and Mary Kay, in 1918 her $5,000 donation to the National Association of Colored People’s anti-lynching fund was the largest individual gift received by the NAACP up to that time, bequeathed a major percentage of her estate to orphanages and institutions, including 2/3 of the future profits of her estate.
Annie Jump Cannon (1863-1941), astronomer who perfected the universal system of stellar classification, at the Harvard Observatory compiled the largest accumulation of astronomical information ever assembled by an individual, the Draper Catalog, previously honored by the US Mint on the 2019 Delaware American Innovation Dollar.
Willa Sibert Cather (1873-1947), novelist of the frontier and pioneer experience, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the book One Of Ours (1923), previously honored by the US Mint on the 1981 ½ Ounce Gold American Arts Medallion.
Bessie Coleman (1892-1926), first African-American female aviator, earning her pilot’s license in France in 1921 because she could not enroll in American schools because of her race and gender, challenged segregationist policies.
Emily Dickinson (1830-1886), considered to be one of the most important of American poets, did not become famous until after her death.
Dorothea Dix (1802-1887), early advocate for the humane treatment of the “mentally ill,” superintendent for the Union Army nurses during the Civil War.
Sarah Mapps Douglass (1806-1882), educator who gave girls equal opportunities with boys, abolitionist, writer, public lecturer, one of the early leaders of the Female Literary Association—formed specifically for African American women, her painted images on her written letters are among the earliest surviving examples of paintings by an African-American woman.
Amelia Earhart (1897-1937), Red Cross Hospital volunteer in World War I, flew her first solo flight in 1921, first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean in 1928, established many other flight firsts for women, disappeared in the Pacific Ocean while attempting to fly a route around the world.
Mary Lillian Ellison (The Fabulous Moolah) (1923-2007), holder of the NWA World Women’s Championship in wrestling eight times for a total of 28 years, in 1999 she became the oldest champion wrestler, male or female, in the history of professional wrestling when she won the Women’s Championship at the age of 76.
Laura Gardin Fraser (1889-1966) sculptor who in the 1920s was perhaps the most prolific designer of US coins (1921 Alabama Centennial Half Dollar, 1922 Grant Memorial Half Dollar and Gold Dollar, 1925 Fort Vancouver Centennial Half Dollar, and 1926-1939 Oregon Trail Memorial Half Dollar, winner of the competition to design the 1932 George Washington Quarter, although Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon ignored this to select Joh Flanagan’s design (Fraser’s design was posthumously used for the 1999 George Washington Bicentennial of Death Gold $5.00 Half Eagle).
Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933-2020), second female to serve on the US Supreme Court (Sandra Day O’Connor, the first female Supreme Court Justice is not eligible to be on a US quarter as she is still alive), advocate for gender equality and women’s rights.
Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins (Sara Winnemucca) (c.1844-1891), Native American author and educator from the Northern Paiute tribe, advocate of friendly relations with arriving Anglo-American settlers to Nevada, her 1884 book Life Among the Paiutes: Their Wrongs and Claims is considered in one source as the “first known autobiography written by a Native American woman,” founder of a school for Native American children in Lovelock, Nevada, one of only nine women honored with a statue in the National Statuary Hall Collection at the US Capitol in Washington, DC.
Grace Hopper (1906-1992), mathematics and computer pioneer, created computer programming technology for modern data processing, created first compiler for computers in 1952, first female in the US Navy to be promoted to Rear Admiral, first American and first female to be a Distinguished Fellow of the British Computer Society.
Julia Ward Howe (1819-1910), 1861 author of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” women’s rights and suffrage advocate, peace advocate, first woman elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1907).
Mary G. Harris Jones (Mother Jones) (1837-1930), born in Ireland before her family moved to Toronto, Ontario, Canada, first worked as a teacher in Michigan, after her husband and four children died of yellow fever in 1867 she began to take up the cause of working people, became a labor organizer from the 1870s up to her death—much of the time for the United Mine Workers Union, helped establish Industrial Workers of the World (1905).
Creola Katherine Johnson (Katherine Johnson) (1918-2020), graduated from high school at age 14, her bachelor’s degree summa cum laude in mathematics and French at age 18 from West Virginia State College, became the first African-American female to attend graduate school at West Virginia University in Morgantown, a talented mathematician whose calculations of orbital mechanics at NASA enabled the success of early US crewed space travel, she worked on the Mercury flights, the rendezvous for the Apollo Lunar Module, the trajectory of the Apollo 11 first moon landing, and the beginning Space Shuttle program, the Katherine G. Johnson Computational Facility at the NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia and the Katherine Johnson Independent Verification and Validation Facility at the NASA campus in Fairmont, West Virginia are named in her honor, Johnson’s NASA career is part of the 2016 movie Hidden Figures.
Helen Keller (1880-1968), after becoming deaf, dumb, and blind at the age of 19 months she learned to overcome these handicaps to become a national spokesperson on behalf of disabled people, previously honored by the US Mint on the 2003 Alabama Statehood Quarter.
Suzanne La Follete (1893-1983), journalist and author, early advocate for libertarian feminism, founding managing editor of The National Review.
Rose Wilder Lane (1886-1968), journalist, travel writer, novelist, political theorist, considered to be one of three women who founded the modern American libertarian movement, one of the highest-paid American female writers by the late 1920s, traveling war correspondent for the American Red Cross Publicity Bureau from after World War I to 1965, collaborated with her mother, Laura Ingalls Wilder, in marketing and possibly helping write the Little House On The Prairie series of books, weekly columnist for The Pittsburgh Courier 1942-1945 which at the time was the most widely read African-American newspaper, advocate of laissez-faire and anti-racism, author of The Discovery Of Freedom in 1943.
Juliette Gordon Lowe (1860-1927), in 1912 formed the first American Girl Guides troop, which became Girl Scouts the next year.
Wilma Mankiller (1945-2010), first female elected as Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation.
Dolley Todd Madison (1768-1849), saved a portrait of George Washington from the White House when British troops set fire to the White House in 1814, previously honored by the US Mint on the 1999 Dolley Madison Silver Dollar and the 2007 Dolley Madison $10 Gold First Spouse.
Mary Eliza Mahoney (1845-1926), first African-American to study and work as a professionally trained nurse in the United States, first African-American to graduate from an American nursing school (1879).
Sharon Christa McAuliffe (Christa McAuliffe) (1948-1986), teacher and astronaut who died in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, previously honored on the 2021 Christa McAuliffe Silver Dollar.
Margaret Mead (1901-1978), trail-blazing cultural anthropologist, author, and speaker, creator of the term “semiotics.”
Maria Mitchell (1818-1889), in 1847 became the first person to discover a new comet using a telescope (now called C/1847 T1 but commonly called Miss Mitchell’s Comet), first internationally known woman to work as a professional astronomer and as a professor of astronomy, opened her own school in 1835 (age of 17) which allowed non-white children to attend who could not attend the segregated public school in Massachusetts, first faculty member hired upon the opening of Vassar College in 1865 even though she herself did not have a college education, where she taught astronomy until 1888, involved in the anti-slavery and women’s suffrage movements, promoted female education, first woman elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1848), one of the first three women to join the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1850) one of the first women elected to the American Philosophical Society, a crater on the moon is named in her honor.
Anna Mary Robertson Moses (Grandma Moses) (1860-1961), became a famous painter after the age of 70, producing more than 1,500 canvases over three decades, her works were reproduced on magazine covers and greeting cards.
Phoebe Ann Mosey (Annie Oakley) (1860-1926) sharpshooter who was the second highest paid member of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West traveling show (only Buffalo Bill Cody was paid more), taught more than 15,000 women how to use firearms.
Theodora Nathalia Nathan (Tonie Nathan) (1923-2014), first woman to receive an electoral vote in the US presidential election as the 1972 Libertarian Party vice-presidential candidate, operated her own insurance agency, her own music publishing firm, her own decorating service, a co-founder of Association of Libertarian Feminists.
Rosa Louise McCauley Parks (1913-2005), “the first lady of civil rights” and “the mother of the freedom movement,” was arrested in 1955 for refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus for a white passenger, as directed by the bus driver, the resulting federal court case declared bus segregation to be unconstitutional.
Loretta Pleasant (Henrietta Lacks) (1920-1951), her cancer cells are the source of the HeLa cell line, the first immortalized human cell line, still used today in medical research.
Jeannette Rankin (1880-1973), the first woman to hold elected federal office in America when she was elected to the US House of Representatives to serve 1917-1919, and again 1941-1943, her time in Congress coincided with America’s entry into World War I and World War II, lifelong pacifist, one of 50 Representatives to oppose the declaration of war against Germany in 1917 and the only member of Congress to vote against the declaration of war on Japan in 1941, suffragist who worked for giving women voting rights in Montana, New York, North Dakota, Washington, and elsewhere, founding member of the Committee on Woman Suffrage who supported in Congress what later became the 19th Constitutional Amendment that granted women the right to vote, champion of women’s rights and civil rights, in 1968 the Jeannette Rankin Brigade organized a 5,000-person women’s peace march in Washington, DC, the largest women’s protest there since 1913, where Rankin personally presented a peace petition to House Speaker John McCormack.
Sally Kristen Ride (1951-2012), first female American astronaut to travel into space (1983 and 1984), and youngest American to travel into space at age 32, member of the Rogers Commission to investigate the Challenger disaster, PHD in physics, earliest acknowledged lesbian space traveler.
Anna Eleanor Roosevelt (Eleanor Roosevelt) (1884-1962), longest-serving US First Lady (1933-1945), first US delegate to the United National General Assembly (1945-1952), advocate for African-American and Asian-American civil rights, first chair of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, oversaw writing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Alisa Zinovyevna Rosenbaum (Ayn Rand) (1905-1982), born in St. Peterburg, Russia and moved to America in 1926, her first play was performed on Broadway in 1935, achieved fame with her 1943 novel The Fountainhead and even more later with her 1957 novel Atlas Shrugged, founded the philosophy of Objectivism, the use of reason to acquire knowledge, was a significant influence among later libertarians and even conservatives.
Araminta Ross (Harriet Tubman) (c.1822-1913) an escaped slave who later made 13 missions to rescue about 70 enslaved people, using the Underground Railroad network after 1850, during the Civil War worked for the Union Army as a cook, nurse, scout, and spy, and became the first woman to lead an armed expedition called the raid at Combahee Ferry which freed more than 700 slaves, after the Civil War became an advocate for women’s suffrage.
Elizabeth Griscom Ross (known as Betsy Ross) (1752-1836), American seamstress who made US flags for more than 50 years, reputed, though not documented, as having made the first American flag in 1776, commissioned to create flags and pennants for Pennsylvania navy in 1777.
Sacagawea (c.1788-c.1812), daughter of a Shoshone chief who in November 1804 with her French-Canadian husband became Shoshone interpreters for the Lewis & Clark Expedition, she was the only female in the crew, continued on the Expedition even after giving birth in February 1805, after her death the Expedition’s William Clark took custody of her two children, already honored on the Sacagawea/Native American Dollar coin issued annually beginning in 2000.
Gladys Marie Smith (stage name Mary Pickford) (1892-1979) born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada was a film actress and producer for five decades, cofounded Pickford-Fairbanks Studios and United Artists, co-founder of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, “America’s Sweetheart” during silent film era, won the 2nd Academy Award for Best Actress (1929), first film actress to sign a million-dollar contract.
Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton (1774-1821), the first person born in what is now the United States to be canonized by the Catholic Church as a saint, established the first Catholic school in America for girls, the Saint Joseph Academy and Free School in Emmitsburg, Maryland in 1810, founded the first congregation of religious sisters in the United States, the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph’s, began the Catholic parochial school system in America, canonized as a saint in 1975.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902), one of the main organizers of the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention, the first to be conducted for the sole purpose of discussing women’s rights, primary author of the Convention’s Declaration of Sentiments, also an activist to abolish slavery, began a decades-long partnership with Susan B. Anthony in 1851 to advocate for women’s rights.
Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896), abolitionist and author best known for her 1852 book Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which depicted the harsh conditions of slavery, which was the best-selling novel of the 19th Century and the 2nd best-selling of all books, topped only by the Bible, when she met Abraham Lincoln early in his presidency her son later claimed that Lincoln said, “So this is the little lady who started this great war,”, later helped found the Hartford, Connecticut Art School (now part of the University of Hartford).
Mercy Otis Warren (1728-1814), poet, playwright, and pamphleteer, attacked royal authority before the Revolutionary War, advisor to Samuel Adams, John Adams, John Hancock, Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington, strong advocate of the adoption of the Bill of Rights as the first 10 amendments to the US Constitution.
Chien-Shiung Wu (1912-1997), born in China, completed her PHD in physics from University of California, Berkeley (1940), became a physics instructor at Princeton University and Smith College, joined the Manhattan Project in 1944 focusing on radiation detectors, her work in 1956 with physicists Tsung Dao Lee and Chen Ning Yang disproved the law of conservation of parity with respect to beta decay, Lee and Yang were awarded the 1957 Nobel Prize for physics for this research, but Wu was not so honored, first female president of the American Physical Society, her 1965 book Beta Decay is still the standard reference for nuclear physicists.
Mildred “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias (1911-1956), superb athlete in baseball, basketball, gold, and track and field, won 2 gold medals and 1 silver medal in track and field at the 1932 Summer Olympics, the only male or female athlete to win Olympic medals in a running, jumping, and a throwing event, pitched for 3 men’s major league baseball teams in exhibition games in 1934, made the cut in 3 men’s PGA tournaments in 1945, co-founder of the Ladies Professional Golf Association, won 48 LPGA and other women’s golf tournaments between 1940-1954, voted Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year in 1932, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1950, 1954.
Award-winning Liberty Coin Service, founded in 1971, is Michigan’s largest rare coin and precious metals dealership. This year it is celebrating its 50th anniversary in business. Liberty Coins, as it is known locally, has been located in Lansing’s Frandor Shopping Center since 1975.
Text of The Circulating Collectible Coin Redesign Act of 2020, which details this and several other forthcoming US coin design changes, is available at https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/1923/text.